France's biggest bank BNP Paribas on Monday announced a comprehensive settlement with U.S. authorities over billions of U.S. dollars of penalty on its alleged dealings with countries subject to sanctions.
In a statement, the French bank agreed to pay a total of 8.97 billion U.S. dollars that could increase its charge by 5.8 billion euros (7.94 billion U.S. dollars) to be booked in the second quarter of the year.
Under the settlement accord, it also accepted to temporaryly suspend "one year starting January 1, 2015 the U.S. dollars direct clearing focused mainly on the oil and gas energy and commodity finance business line in certain locations."
Punished for alleged dealings with countries subject to sanctions such as Iran, Cuba and Sudan, BNP Paribas said it would maintain its licenses in the United States, adding the fine would not affect its operational or business capabilities to serve the vast majority of its clients.
With the largest fine paid by a European bank, BNP Paribas expected its fully loaded Basel III CET1 ratio to be at around 10 percent as of June 2014, in conformity with the group's financial targets over 2014-2016 period.
"Having this matter resolved is an important step forward for us. Apart from the impact of the fine, BNP Paribas will once again post solid results this quarter and we want to thank our clients, employees, shareholders and investors for their support throughout this difficult time," said Jean-Laurent Bonnafe, BNP Paribas CEO.
"The group remains focused on implementing its 2014-2016 business development plan. In particular, North America remains a strategic market for the group where we plan to further develop our retail, investment solutions and corporate and investment banking franchise over the coming years," he added.
During Tuesday's midday trading session, BNP Paribas shares were in the green at 51.39 euros, up 3.72 percent. (1 euro = 1.36 U.S. dollar)